Yesterday was William’s swallow study. This was the last of the tests GI suggested we do with him. During the swallow study he sat in a seat that looked similar to a car seat next to a fluoroscope (like the one used during the upper GI). We fed him bottles of barium and then watched how he swallowed the liquid. For him we tried thin (normal formula consistency) and thickened (slightly thicker than we use) liquid. They were looking to make sure that he doesn’t aspirate (let the liquid go into his lungs) when he swallows. We switched back and forth with the two thicknesses during the test.
We found that he was almost aspirating the thin liquid (normal formula consistency). He was letting it go into his windpipe and only his vocal cords were closing down and pushing it out. Not good. With the thickened liquid he did much better. He was able to control is swallow and move it down his esophagus smoothly, not letting it in his wind pipe. He needs to be on the thickened formula for at least the next several months; then we will retest him and see if he has gotten better.
Even though this isn’t the original reason that we put him on the thickened formula (reflux was), it is good that he is on it and likes it. It also explains why I have noticed that he eats smoother and faster. It is easier for him to control and move through his swallow mechanism. I am not sure what it means for him learning to eat solids. That is a question for our feeding specialist, Robin Glass.
The most interesting thing to me was that this was the test that I thought the least about and figured wasn’t going to show much. I even thought about canceling it. (I also thought that about his eye appointment.) I guess I need to stop thinking that.